Skip to main content

Full text of "Change name of Grand River to Colorado River .."

See other formats


F 

T88 
.05 


■H 


\{ 


4 


1 


67th  Congress,)    HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES,   j       Report 

Ist  Session.     ) (      No.  97. 

CHANGE  NAME  OF  GRAND  RIVER  TO  COLORADO  RIVER. 


May  25,  1921. — Referred  to  the  House  Calendar  and  ordered  to  be  printed. 


Mr.  Denison,  from  the  Committee  on  Interstate  and  Foreign  Com- 
merce, submitted  the  following 

REPORT. 

{To  accompany  H.  J.  Res.  32.] 

The  Committee  on  Interstate  and  Foreign  Commerce,  to  whom 
was  referred  the  resolution  (H.  J.  Res.  32)  to  change  the  name  of 
the  Grand  River  in  Colorado  and  Utah  to  the  Colorado  River,  having 
considered  the  same,  report  thereon  with  the  recommendation  that 
it  do  pass. 

The  resolution  is  as  follows : 

JOINT  RESOLUTION  To  change  the  name  of  the  Grand  River  in  Colorado  and  Utah  to  the  Colorado 

River. 

Whereas  the  Colorado  River,  which  traverses  or  fiMrnis  the  boundaries  of  the  States  of 
Utah,  Arizona,  Nevada,  and  California,  is  formed  by  the  junction  of  the  Grand  and 
Green  Rivers,  in  the  State  of  Utah;  and 

Whereas  the  Colorado  River  was  discovered  in  the  year  1540  and  was  given  various 
names  until  about  1620,  when  it  was  definitely  nanied  the  Rio  Colorado  of  the  West, 
and  has  ever  since  been  known  throughout  the  world  as  the  Colorado  River;  while 
the  two  main  forks  of  the  Colorado  River  were  not  discovered  until  about  the  year 
1776,  and  were  given  some  eight  or  ten  different  names  during  the  following  fifty 
years  when  they  finally  became  generally  known  as  the  Grand  and  Green  Rivers; 
and 

Whereas  the  so-called  Grand  River  is  and  always  has  been  in  reality  and  by  official 
measurement  the  main  stream  and  principal  source  of  water  supply  of  the  said 
Colorado  River,  and  historically  and  for  every  other  reason,  should  have  been 
originally  named  and  ever  since  known  as  the  Colorado  River  throughout  its  entire 
length,  from  its  source  in  the  Rocky  Mountain  National  Park  in  the  State  of  Colo- 
rado, to  its  confluence  with  the  Green  River  in  Utah,  and  thence  to  its  mouth  in 
the  Gulf  of  California;  and 

Whereas,  by  the  Act  of  Congress  approved  February  28,  1861,  providing  for  the  organ- 
ization of  the  Territory  of  Colorado,  the  Territory  was  named  Colorado  "for  the 
reason  that  the  Colorado  River  arose  in  its  mountains  and  there  was  a  peculiar 
fitness  in  the  name,"  and  also  because  "the  name  Colorado  is  more  appropriate 
and  more  harmonious,  and  is  the  handsomest  name  that  could  be  given  to  any 
Territory  or  State"  (Congressional  Globe,  February  4,  1861,  volume  31,  part  2, 
Thirty-sixth  Congress,  second  session,  pages  729  and  766;  and  Hall's  History  of 
Colorado,  volume  1,  page  258);  and 

F7a3 
,05 


2  CHANGE  NAME  OF  GRAND  RIVER  TO  COLORADO  RIVER. 

Whereas  the  Legislature  of  the  State  of  Colorado  by  unanimous  vote  of  both  the  Senate 
and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  Twenty-third  General  Assembly  has  recently 
passed  the  following  bill: 

"A  bill  concerning  the  change  of  the  name  of  the  Grand  River  to  the  Colorado  River. 

''Be  it  enacted  by  the  General  Assembly  of  the  State  of  Colorado,  That  the  name  of 
the  Grand  River  in  Colorado  is  hereby  changed  to  the  Colorado  River,  by  which 
name  said  river  shall  hereafter  be  known,  from  its  source  to  where  it  crosses  the 
western  boundary  of  the  State  of  Colorado. 

"Sec.  2.  The  change  of  the  name  of  said  river  shall  in  no  wise  affect  the  rights  of 
this  State,  or  of  any  county,  municipality,  corporation,  association,  or  person;  and 
all  laws,  records,  surveys,  maps,  and  other  public  or  private  documents  of  every  kind 
and  nature  in  which  the  said  river  is  mentioned  or  referred  to  under  or  by  the  name 
of  the  Grand  River  shall  hereafter  refer  to  the  same  river  and  with  the  same  purport 
and  effect  under  and  by  the  name  of  the  Colorado  River' '; 

Which  act  was  approved  by  the  governor  and  became  a  law  of  that  State  on  March  24 
1921:  Therefore  be  it 

Resolved  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United  States  of  America 
in  Congress  assembled,  That  from  and  after  the  passage  of  this  act  the  river  heretofore 
known  as  the  Grand  River,  from  its  source  in  the  Rocky  Mountain  National  Park  in 
Colorado  to  the  point  where  it  joins  the  Green  River  in  the  State  of  Utah  and  forms 
the  Colorado  River,  shall  be  known  and  designated  on  the  public  records  as  the 
Colorado  River. 

Sec.  2.  That  the  change  in  the  name  of  said  river  shall  in  no  wise  affect  the  rights 
of  the  State  of  Colorado,  the  State  of  Utah,  or  of  any  county,  municipality,  corporation, 
association,  or  person;  and  all  records,  surveys,  maps,  and  public  documents  of  the 
United  States  in  which  said  river  is  mentioned  or  referred  to  under  the  name  of  the 
Grand  River  shall  be  held  to  refer  to  the  said  river  under  and  by  the  name  of  the 
Colorado  River. 

A  similar  resolution  to  this  was  introduced  by  Mr.  Taylor  of 
Colorado  in  the  Sixty-sixth  Congress  as  H.  J.  Res.  460,  and  the  then 
chairman  of  this  committee  referred  that  resolution  to  the  Depart- 
ment of  the  Interior  with  the  request  that  the  Secretary  should 
report  thereon  generally,  and  also  (a)  as  to  the  authority  of  Congress 
to  enact  this  legislation;  (6)  as  to  whether  or  not  it  would  be  more 
appropriate  for  the  State  Legislatures  of  Colorado  and  Utah  to  con- 
sider and  act  upon  the  subject;  and  (c)  as  to  whether  or  not  there 
were  any  precedents  for  this  measure.  Former  Secretary  Payne 
reported  thereon  as  follows : 

Department  of  the  Interior, 

Washington,  February  2,  1921. 
Hon.  John  J.  Esch, 

Chairman  Committee  on  Interstate  and  Foreign  Commerce, 

House  of  Representatives. 

My  Dear  Mr.  Esch:  I  am  in  receipt  of  your  letter  of  January  28,  1921,  indorsing 
copy  of  House  joint  resolution  460,  to  change  the  name  of  the  Grand  River  in  Colorado 
and  Utah  to  the  Colorado  River,  and  asking  for  an  expression  of  opinion  as  to  the  juris- 
diction of  Congress  to  enact  such  a  bill,  whether  it  would  be  more  appropriate  for  the 
States  or  Congress  to  consider  such  a  measure,  and  whether  there  are  any  precedents 
for  the  action  proposed. 

In  reply  I  have  to  advise  you  that  the  Grand  River  is  an  interstate  stream,  rising  in 
and  traversing  the  State  of  Colorado,  passing  through  a  part  of  the  State  of  Utah,  and 
forming,  in  conjunction  with  the  Green  River,  the  Colorado  River,  which,  after  passing 
through  or  forming  the  boundaries  of  a  number  of  States,  enters  the  Republic  of  Mexico, 
and  empties  into  the  Gulf  of  California. 

As  you  are  aware,  under  the  Constitution  and  decisions  of  the  Supreme  Court  of 
the  United  States,  the  jurisdiction  of  Congress  over  navigable  rivers  in  matters  relating 
to  navigation  and  fisheries  is  defined,  and  while  the  question  is  open  to  some  discus- 
sion, it  is  contended  that  this  jurisdiction  extends  not  only  to  the  navigable  portion 
of  a  stream  but  to  the  upper  or  nonnavigable  portions  which  feeds  the  main  stream. 
Whether  this  be  true  or  not.  it  is  clear  that  Congress  would  have  this  jurisdiction  not 


CHANGE  NAME  OF  GRAND  RIVER  TO  COLORADO  RIVER.  3 

only  over  streams  now  actually  navigable  in  fact,  but  over  those  portions  which  can 
be  made  navigable  by  dams  or  other  public  works.  Then,  too,  Congress  has  consist- 
ently exercised  jurisdiction  over  interstate  matters,  such  as  interstate  railroads,  power 
lines,  etc. 

I  do  not  believe  that  the  changing  of  the  name  of  an  interestate  stream  should  be 
left  to  State  legislatures,  and  am  of  opinion,  therefore,  that  such  a  measure  as  this 
should  be  considered  by  Congress,  because  of  the  interstate  character  of  the  stream 
and  because  water  appropriations,  power  appropriations,  county  boundaries,  and 
numerous  Federal,  State,  and  county  records  now  designate  the  stream  as  Grand 
River.  It  would  be  less  confusing  and  would  obviate  legal  questions  if  the  change 
is  specifically  authorized  by  congressional  action. 

The  only  thing  in  the  nature  of  a  congressional  precedent  which  I  have  been  able 
to  find  is  a  joint  resolution  approved  June  19,  1852  (vol.  10,  p.  147,  U.  S.  Stat.  I;.), 
wherein  the  name  of  a  river  in  the  Territory  of  Minnesota,  theretofore  known  as  St. 
Peters,  was  changed  to  the  Minnesota  River. 

If  Congress  shall  deem  it  advisable  to  enact  the  measure,  this  department  has  no 
objection  to  interpose  thereto. 
Cordially,  yours, 

John  Barton  Payne,  Secretary. 

The  chairman  also  referred  that  resolution  to  the  War  Department 
for  a  report,  and  the  Secretary  of  War  reported  thereon  as  follows: 

War  Department,  February  1,  1921. 
Respectfully  returned  to  the  chairman  Committee  on  Interstate  and  Foreign  Com- 
merce, House  of  Representatives. 

So  far  as  the  interests  committed  to  this  department  are  concerned,  I  do  not  know 
of  any  objection  to  the  favorable  consideration  by  Congress  of  the  accompanying 
bill,  House  joint  resolution  4G0,  present  session,  to  change  the  name  of  the  Grand 
River,  in  Colorado  and  Utah,  to  the  Colorado  River. 

W.  R.  Williams, 

Assistant  Secretary  of  War. 

The  chairman  also  referred  that  resolution  to  the  United  States 
Geological  Survey  for  report  as  to  the  history,  nomenclature,  descrip- 
tion, source  of  supply,  water  flow,  etc.,  of  each  of  the  three  rivers 
referred  to  in  the  resolution,  and  the  director,  under  date  of  February 
16,  1921,  made  a  very  complete  and  elaborate  report,  which  is  set 
forth  in  full  in  the  hearings;  but  owing  to  its  length  it  is  deemed 
unnecessary  to  include  it  in  this  report.  (See  also  Water-Supply 
Paper  No.  395,  ''Colorado  River  and  its  utilization.")  From  these 
reports  it  will  be  observed  that  the  measure  meets  with  the  approval 
of  both  the  Interior  and  War  Departments. 

It  was  shown  at  the  hearing  that  by  "  the  treaty  of  peace,  friend- 
ship, limits,  and  settlements,  between  the  United  States  of  America 
and  the  Mexican  Republic,"  known  as  ''the  treaty  of  Guadalupe- 
Hidargo,"  which  was  concluded  between  our  country  and  Mexico 
on  February  2,  1848,  and  duly  ratified  by  both  countries  and  pro- 
claimed on  July  4,  1848,  article  6  expressly  provides  that  the  Colorado 
River  is  a  navigable  stream  from  the  Gulf  of  California  up  into  the 
United  States.  And  by  the  amended  treaty  with  Mexico,  of  June 
30,  1854,  known  as  "the  Gadsden  treaty,"  these  same  provisions 
were  continued  and  are  still  in  force  and  effect.  So  that  the  Colorado 
River  is  an  international  stream  and  the  lower  portion  of  the  river 
is  both  by  an  international  treaty,  and  by  actual  fact,  navigable  for 
a  distance  of  something  like  300  or  400  miles. 

The  State  of  Colorado  has  by  its  general  assembly  enacted  a  law 
expressly  changing  the  name  of  that  part  of  the  Grand  River  in 
Colorado  and  naming  it  the  Colorado  River.  That  State  law  was 
passed  by  a  unanimous  vote  of  both  houses  of  the  Colorado  Legisla- 


4  CHANGE  NAME  OF  GRAND  RIVER  TO  COLORADO  RIVER. 

ture,  and  was  approved  by  the  governor  on  March  24,  1921,  and  is 
as  follows: 

An  act  concerning  the  change  of  the  name  of  the  Grand  River  to  the  Colorado  River. 

Be  it  enacted  by  the  General  Assembly  of  the  State  of  Colorado,  That  the  name  of  the 
Grand  River  in  Colorado  is  hereby  changed  to  the  Colorado  River,  by  which  name 
said  river  shall  hereafter  be  known,  from  its  sources  to  where  it  crosses  the  western 
boundary  of  the  State  of  Colorado. 

Sec.  2.  The  change  of  the  name  of  said  river  shall  in  no  wise  affect  the  rights  of  this 
State,  or  of  any  county,  municipality,  corporation,  association,  or  person;  and  all 
laws,  records,  surveys,  mape,  and  other  public  or  private  documents  of  every  kind 
and  nature,  in  which  the  said  river  is  mentioned  or  referred  to  under  or  by  the  name 
of  the  Grand  River,  shall  hereafter  refer  to  the  same  river  and  with  the  same  purport 
and  effect,  under  and  by  the  name  of  the  Colorado  River. 

The  hearing  also  disclosed  that  this  measure  has  practically  the 
unanimous  approval  of  the  Colorado  people  generally,  and  the 
officials  and  municipalities  and  counties  along  and  adjacent  to  the 
Grand  River  in  Colorado,  and  also  the  State  Historical  Society  and 
many  other  patriotic  and  public-spirited  organizations  and  news- 
papers throughout  the  State. 

So  that  in  reality  there  is  at  this  time  only  the  small  part  of  that 
river  from  the  eastern  boundary  of  Utah  to  its  junction  with  the 
Green  River,  a  distance  of  about  80  miles,  that  is  now  officially  called 
the  Grand  River. 

The  Utah  Legislature  at  its  recent  session  had  before  it  a  resolution 
providing  for  the  changing  of  the  name  of  that  portion  of  the  stream 
in  Utah  and  to  call  it  the  Colorado  River.  The  matter  was  taken 
up  late  in  the  session  and  was  referred  for  consideration  to  the 
member  of  the  legislature  from  that  part  of  the  State,  the  Hon.  C.  A. 
Hammond,  of  Moab,  Utah,  which  town  is  on  that  portion  of  the 
Grand  River.  Mr.  Hammond  was  taken  ill  and  died  and  the  resolu- 
tion was,  therefore,  never  formally  acted  upon;  and  the  Legislature 
of  Utah  will  not  meet  again  for  two  years.  However,  it  may  be 
generally  stated  that  there  is  no  opposition  on  the  part  of  Utah  to 
the  change.  In  fact,  the  governor  oi  the  State  of  Utah  and  the  local 
people  and  their  Representatives  seem  to  all  be  in  favor  of  it. 

The  reason  it  is  sought  to  pass  this  resolution  rather  than  to  await 
the  action  of  the  Utah  Legislature  some  time  in  the  future  is  because 
the  State  and  the  people  of  Colorado  are  desirous  of  having  the 
change  made  without  waiting  two  or  three  years,  and  also  because 
the  Secretary  of  the  Interior  in  his  report  holds  that  inasmuch  as  the 
Colorado  River  is  an  international  stream  and  an  interstate  stream 
and  a  navigable  stream,  and  the  Grand  River  tributary  is  in  itself  an 
interstate  stream,  that  the  change  of  the  name  should  not  be  left  to 
the  State  legislatures,  but  should  be  considered  by  Congress,  because 
of  the  large  water  appropriations  and  other  Federal  matters  and  maps 
and  records  involved.  And  your  committee  is  largely  acting  upon 
that  suggestion  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Interior  in  assuming  juris- 
diction and  considering  and  recommending  the  resolution. 

The  official  records  produced  at  the  hearmg  disclose  that  the  Colo- 
rado River  was  discovered  by  the  early  Spanish  explorers  about  the 
year  1540,  and  that  from  that  time  until  about  the  year  1605  the 
river  was  given  various  names.  But  about  the  latter  date  it  was 
called  the  Rio  Colorado,  meaning  bright  colored  or  red  river,  be- 
cause of  the  reddish  sandstone  formation  throughout  many  portions 


CHANGE  NAME  OF  GEAND  KIVER  TO  COLORADO  RIVER.  5 

of  its  canyons,  and  the  reddish  appearance  of  its  waters  at  times 
when  the  rains  wash  down  large  quantities  of  the  decomposed  red 
sandstone.  That  for  the  past  300  years  the  river  has  been  known 
as  the  Colorado  River,  one  of  the  most  unique,  scenic,  and  marvelous 
rivers  in  the  world. 

That  name  naturally  was  intended  to  extend  from  its  mouth  in  the 
Gulf  of  California  up  to  its  source,  wherever  that  might  be.  The 
early  Spanish  explorers  never  explored  or  knew  where  the  source  of 
the  "Colorado  River  was.  It  was  some  200  years  after  the  Colorado 
River  was  named  before  the  source  of  the  stream  was  known.  For 
many  years  the  two  main  branches  of  the  river — the  Grand  and  the 
Green  Rivers — were  entirely  unknown.  Later  explorers  discovered 
those  two  streams  and  gave  them  various  names,  and  many  different 
reports  of  various  explorers  refer  to  those  streams  by  different 
names.  But  approximately  a  hundred  years  ago  the  two  streams 
became  better  imown  and  began  to  be  marked  upon  the  maps  as 
they  are  to-day,  and  have  been  so  recognized  ever  since. 

At  the  time  the  bill  providing  for  the  original  creation  of  the 
Territory  of  Colorado  was  pending  before  the  Thirty-sixth  Congress 
it  passed  the  House  organizing  the  Territory  and  giving  it  the  name 
of  the  ''Territory  of  Idaho."  After  that  in  the  deoate  m  the  Senate 
the  Senators  amended  the  bill  by  striking  out  the  name  ''Idaho," 
and  on  February  4,  1861,  they  rechristened  it  "The  Territory  of 
Colorado,"  as  was  then  expressly  stated  on  the  floor  of  the  Senate, 
"For  the  reason  that  the  Colorado  River  arose  in  its  mountains, 
and  there  was  a  peculiar  fitness  in  the  name,"  and  also  because, 
^'The  name  'Colorado'  is  more  appropriate  and  more  harmonious, 
*  *  *  and  it  is  the  handsomest  name  that  could  be  given  to 
any  Territory  or  State."  (Congressional  Globe,  Feb.  4,  1861,  pp. 
729-766.) 

It  was  also  shown  to  your  committee  from  official  reports  that 
while  the  Green  River  is  considerably  longer  than  the  Grand,  that 
the  Grand  River  is  the  larger  of  the  two  streams  and  furnishes  much 
more  of  the  water  supplied  to  the  Colorado  River  than  does  the 
Green  River.  And  that  the  Grand  is  in  reality  the  main  stream  and 
the  source  of  the  Colorado  River,  as  was  stated  by  the  Senators  at 
the  time  of  the  creation  and  the  official  naming  of  the  Territory  of 
Colorado.  Your  committee  feels  that  by  reason  of  the  State  of 
Colorado  having  been  so  expressly  named  after  the  Colorado  River, 
as  well  as  for  the  other  reasons  given  at  the  hearing,  that  the  State 
of  Colorado  is  expressing  a  commendable  sentiment,  and  has  a 
patriotic  right  to  have  that  river  bear  the  name  of  "Colorado" 
from  its  mouth  in  the  Gulf  of  California  to  its  source  in  the  Rocky 
Mountain  National  Park  in  the  central  portion  of  northern  Colorado. 

The  Colorado  River  being  an  international  stream,  and  the  lower 
portion  of  the  river  being  navigable,  both  by  international  treaty 
and  in  fact,  and  the  Grand  River  being  an  interstate  stream,  your 
committee  entertains  no  doubt  as  to  its  jurisdiction,  or  as  to  the 
propriety  of  Congress  considering  this  measure. 

There  being  no  apparent  reason  sufficient  in  the  judgment  of  your 
committee  to  counteract  the  expressed  desire  of  the  people  of  the 
State  of  Colorado  to  have  this  change  made,  your  committee  unani- 
mously recommends  the  approval  of  this  resolution. 


Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 

in  2007  with  funding  from 

IVIicrosoft  Corporation 


http://www.archive.org/details/changenameofgranOOunitrich 


i 


/''    ; 


'  » 


% 


\^